International researchers and scientists are invited to attend a knowledge exchange meeting in Rwanda in early 2017 to discuss how to bring about healthcare provider practice change in low and middle-income countries (LMIC).

The two day event is scheduled to take place on the 31st of January and the 1st of February 2017 at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences in Kigali, Rwanda, and is expected to bring a core group of about 50 scientists together to focus on how more healthcare professionals could be encouraged to see self-care empowerment as their core business.

The event is being organised by Health Psychologists from Manchester Medical School, Dr Lucie Byrne-Davis and Dr Joanne Hart, and their colleague Dr David Musoke from Makerere University with the support of the Vice Chancellor of University of Rwanda, Prof Phil Cotton.

“Most health partnerships tend to use education and training as their mechanism for changing practice but, as behavioural scientists, we know that attempts to increase capability, like education and training, have to go hand in hand with interventions to improve opportunity and motivation,” said Dr Byrne-Davis.

One area of interest is how healthcare professionals can change their practice to empower patients and promote self-care.

“In England, the vision for the NHS over the next few years puts self-care at the heart of the work of the healthcare professional. Yet, we are still training healthcare workers to ‘deliver care’ and spend very little time teaching them how to empower people to manage their own lifestyle and conditions. There is some resistance from healthcare workers who often see empowering self-care as someone else’s role,” said Dr Byrne-Davis.

The planned upcoming event stems from Dr Byrne-Davis and Dr Hart being awarded a grant from the UK-based Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) to support UK-LMIC health partnerships to bring about practice change.

“We have recruited behavioural scientist volunteers from the UK to work with five partnerships to teach partners about behaviour and behaviour change and to tweak their education and training interventions to include parts that address opportunity and motivation and how to evaluate their training to see if capability, opportunity and motivation are all changed,” said Dr Byrne-Davis.

However, because all of the behavioural scientists were UK-based,  Dr Byrne-Davis,  Dr Hart and Dr Muoke applied to THET for a knowledge exchange grant to talk about their findings with behavioural scientists from LMIC and, in turn, to find out about their work and to see if they could work together moving forward.

“After some discussion with colleagues, we decided that Kigali was a good city for a conference and contacted Prof Cotton to ask if they would support us,” concluded Byrne-Davis.

The meeting is free to attend and there are bursaries available for scientists and health professional educators working on provider behaviour in African institutions. For more information, you can email thechangeexchange@manchester.ac.uk or complete an expression of interest by completing this Google form.

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